Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

At Times…

Philippians 1:21

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

fullsizeoutput_ffeAs you read this devotional thought today – I have a question. Does anyone daydream? Does anyone think about things in the future or in the abstract or in the future? Am I the only one who thinks about the past – the present – and the future – all in the same day? My mind wonders all around at times. Staying focus on the here and now is not always easy.

Are there things you wish you could change about your life? I think about this at times. I think about the choices I’ve made in the past and how my life would be different had I made other choices. At times – my life would be better – I imagine. At times – my life would be worse – I imagine. I try to live in the here and now – but often my mind wonders about the time spectrum of life.

Paul was in a situation – a situation where life was not going well. He was in chains for Jesus. He had been beaten. He had it hard – yet he had learned to be content with whatever life brought his way. He was a strong witness to those around him – even to those who held him captive. He was a witness for Jesus to all he ran into in his life. He was a role model for us as Christians – followers of Christ.

Here’s today’s passage in partial context. Philippians 1:12–26 – 12 Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. 13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 14 And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear. 15 It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16 The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. 18 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.  20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.

At times – I think about being with Jesus for eternity. At times – I think about being with my wife – children – and grandchildren for as long as possible. At times – I am torn between the heaven I long for in eternity and the heaven I live in – in the present. I want to add years to my life – and life to my years. Yet – I also desire to be with Jesus in heaven and reunited with my parents and my grandparents (I never met my grandfathers).

At times – life is not easy to figure out. As I near retirement (some day) – I know that it is another step toward my eternity in heaven with Jesus. It is also a step into spending more time with my wife – children – and grandchildren (and if so – blessed with my great-grands some day). At times – we simply live in the moment – even as we think about the past and the future – we must live in the here and now. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

Just something for us to think about today as we go on our way.

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November 12, 2018 - Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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